MacLellan: Most GMs don't want June draft
The NHL is exploring the possibility of holding a June draft - perhaps as early as June 5 - before resuming the regular season, but Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan says he and other GMs aren't exactly thrilled about the idea.
"I think most of the managers would like it to happen in a natural order," he told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside on the "Two-Man Advantage" podcast Wednesday. "There's a natural order of business, there's a rhythm to it. Some teams use that time to reset their roster; it's a way to manage your roster and cap situation for next season, it's a way to make trades.
"A lot of decisions are based on how you concluded your previous season. So, if you go into the playoffs and maybe a weakness is identified or you weren't as successful as you were (hoping) and you need to make changes, and the draft seems to be an area where you can accomplish those things before next season."
Part of the league's rationale for a June draft is that an unusually late postseason - which appears likely amid the coronavirus pandemic - would leave little time to conduct a lottery and a draft before the 2020-21 campaign gets underway.
MacLellan admitted holding a draft while most of the world is under lockdown could be a boon for TV ratings. The 2020 NFL Draft, conducted virtually in April, set a league record with 55 million viewers.
"I also understand this is a business, it's a league business," MacLellan said. "The commissioner and the league have some business decisions to make; there's national rights holders, there's a national audience that's looking for some content, and there's an opportunity for the league to sell our draft - to introduce the draft to people that don't normally watch it, possibly.
"So I think there's probably a little tug-of-war. … The commissioner will make his decision and we'll work with that. We'll work within the guidelines he sets out."